New Delhi, Jan 6: With pride at stake, India bounced back in style to win the inconsequential third and final One-Day International (ODI) by 10 runs in thrilling fashion at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Sunday. However, Pakistan won the series 2-1.
A stunning performance by the bowlers backed by excellent fielding helped India defend a small total of 167 as Pakistan were bowled out for 157 with seven balls to spare in biting cold conditions.
Ishant Sharma was the pick of the Indian bowlers bagging 3/36 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged two wickets each. Pacer Shami Ahmed had an impressive debut picking 1/23.
Ahmed set the tone with a fine first spell of 5-3-12-0 while Kumar picked up the wickets of Kamran Akmal (0) and Younis Khan (6) from the other end.
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was the top scorer with 39 while opening batsman Nasir Jamshed made 34. Jamshed, who scored two centuries in Chennai and Kolkata, was named man of the series.
Pakistan crumbled in panic and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The only meaningful partnership they had was the 52-run stand between Misbah and Umar Akmal (25).
Mohammad Hafeez (21) came out to bat at No.7 due to a finger injury he picked up while attempting a return catch from Dhoni off his own bowling. Hafeez held up one end but wickets kept falling at the other.
Pakistan were well placed at 145/7 in the 47th over. But a fine 48th over by Ahmed turned the tide in favour of India. Ahmed picked up Saeed Ajmal with his second delivery while Junaid Khan was run out after a mix-up.
In the penultimate over, Hafeez hit two consecutive fours off Ishant to bring down the equation to 12 from eight balls. But Hafeez heaved the fifth ball towards mid-wicket only to find Yuvraj as India pulled off an unlikely win.
Earlier, as temperatures dipped to the season’s lowest in the national capital, Indian batting crumbled once again and the innings folded up in 43.4 overs after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bat.
Saeed Ajmal, who finished with his career-best 5/24, suffocated the middle-order after a fine opening spell by Pakistani pacers Junaid Khan (1/17) and Mohammed Irfan (2/28). For Ajmal it was his second fifer – the first (5/43) coming against England in Abu Dhabi last year.
Dhoni, named man of the match, once again top scored with 36 while Suresh Raina made 31.
Irfan and Junaid struck in tandem to remove the top three for 37 while Ajmal wrecked the middle-order. India lost the last six wickets for 56 runs, out of which five went to Ajmal.
India started with Ajinkya Rahane, who replaced Virender Sehwag, and Gautam Gambhir but the pair flopped.
Irfan was the first to strike by removing the two openers. He lured Rahane (4) into a drive and a faint edge carried to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
Gambhir’s poor run with the bat continued as he managed 15 before playing a loose shot of a short and wide delivery from Junaid only to find the other Akmal brother, Umar, at point.
Junaid’s first spell read 7-1-12-1 and Irfan’s 7-1-28-2. Runs were hard to come by when the two fast bowlers were in action during the first 14 overs. India merely scored 43/3.
Yuvraj Singh (23) started off well with two consecutive boundaries off Irfan. The southpaw also came down hard on Umar Gul hitting him for three boundaries as the pacer gave 18 runs from his first over after coming in as a change for Irfan. But Yuvraj’s flashy innings ended after he was castled by Mohammed Hafeez (1/44).
Dhoni and Raina tried to repair the innings with their 48-run stand but Ajmal picked up Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) in consecutive deliveries while Dhoni fell to Gul, caught at point by Umar.
Ravindra Jadeja (27) hit some lusty blows, but it was not enough to save India from the ignominy of not being able to play the full 50 overs.